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-Andrew Smith, U.S. Army

Virginia Tech
Doctor of Psychology

On 9/11/2001, Andrew was a skinny 19-year-old kid in his third week of basic training, being schooled in hand-to-hand combat. Bloodied and sore, he gathered on the drill field to learn of the attacks. For Andrew and for many, the world spontaneously changed forever, and he would deploy twice over the next few years in support of OIF.

His time in the military marked a profound life phase for him. He performed his combat duty with honor, despite reservations about US motives in Iraq. He also developed life-long bonds with my fellow soldiers, intimacy that resulted in observations of the coping difficulties that fellow soldiers experienced.

Several weeks after discharge, he returned stateside to begin his undergraduate education at Penn State. His program of study is built on his military-shaped-passion to understand how humans cope with extreme stress. He has continuously pursued this passion through a master’s degree (University of Colorado), Ph.D. in clinical psychology (Virginia Tech), and clinical residency at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center (currently, 2016-2017).

As a researcher, he has built a program of studies focused on factors that promote trauma adaptation following mass violence, combat, sexual assault, stroke, and brain injury. As a clinician, he continues developing his efficacy to heal struggling trauma survivors via delivery of evidence-based-treatments. As a teacher, he strives to translate science into useful forms.

Guided by his sense of purpose and gratitude—direct bi-products of my military experiences and community— he maintains his dedication and urgency to translate his knowledge into useful interventions that benefit trauma survivors.